Baseball: Mundelein beats Fremd in regional final, sets record for wins in a season
Mundelein's Torr Randau (20) walks to the plate for his chance against Libertyville during their baseball game on Tuesday, May 1st. Mundelein won 15-3. | Dan Luedert~Sun-Times Media
Updated: May 29, 2012 6:06PM
Saturday afternoon’s IHSA Class 4A boys baseball regional championship game between Mundelein and Fremd didn’t start out quite the way the host Mustangs had planned.
Mundelein senior starting pitcher Jared Mandel was uncharacteristically touched-up for three runs by the Vikings in the top of the first, which put his club in rather unfamiliar territory.
“I can count the number of times we’ve been behind in a game this season on one hand,” Mustangs coach Todd Parola said after the game.
Fortunately for top-seeded Mundelein, the Mustangs responded by scoring seven unanswered runs — including one in the bottom of the first, five in the second and one in the fifth — for a 7-3 victory, which marked their first regional title since 2008.
The victory also improved the Mustangs’ record to 33-4 overall, and broke the school’s all-time mark for most wins in a season, which previously stood at 32. Mundelein will face Palatine on May 30 (4:30 p.m.) in a sectional semifinal game at Glenbrook South High School in Glenview. Palatine topped Libertyville 6-3 on Saturday.
Trailing 3-0, Mundelein senior second baseman Chris Maranto blasted a two-out solo homer off Fremd starter Lee Breitzman in the bottom of the first, which cut the Vikings’ lead to two. It was also a turning point.
“I thought it was huge we came out (in the bottom of the first) and Maranto hit the bomb ... we kinda got re-energized just a little bit,” Parola said. “Even though it was only one, I think it really just made a statement.”
Mundelein made a bigger statement in the second inning, when they scored five more times. It included an RBI single by leadoff hitter Zach Osisek — subbing for regular leadoff man Thomas Gandolfi, who was out with a minor hamstring injury — a bases-loaded walk by Maranto, and an RBI single by Will Farmer. It also ended Breitzman’s day on the mound after just 1 2/3 innings.
The Mustangs entered the third with a 6-3 lead, which was more than enough support for Mandel (CG, five hits allowed) after his shaky start. After allowing three runs, three hits and four baserunners in the first two innings, he didn’t allow a hit for 12 consecutive batters after that, and yielded just two hits the rest of the way.
“They (Fremd) were definitely attacking the fastball,” Mandel said. “They got a couple of solid hits off that, and after the first inning I was able to settle down. When I went out in the second inning, I tried throwing my off-speed stuff more, changed-up my looks, and I was able to dominate the rest of the game.”
In the bottom of the fifth, Mundelein added an insurance run, when Weiner slapped the first pitch he saw into right field for a one-out RBI single, scoring Torr Randau — who advanced to third on Will Farmer’s sacrifice bunt —making it 7-3.
“The chemistry on this team, and the way guys get along is incredible,” Randau said. “It’s the most fun I’ve ever had on a baseball team.”